Paris Je T'Aime
Tying the knot or looking to celebrate with your someone special? Read on.
Operated by only two families since opening in 1925—although the 161-room building's roots stretch back to Louis XV times—Hôtel Le Bristol received France's first “Palace” designation in 2012—and it shows in the attentive service. A new Honeymoon Suite occupies the entire top floor, with panoramic views of the Eiffel Tower and Paris skyline beat only by the hotel's rooftop and sundeck. Don’t miss a meal at Epicure, Le Bristol's jewel box of a three-Michelin-star restaurant.
Dramatic as a sweeping aria, L’Opéra Restaurant at Paris' Legendary Palais Garnier opened in 2011 after 136 years on the drawing board and is a suitable scarlet-drenched backdrop to romance. Post-show, pre-show, or just because, nestle in with a bottle of Champagne and feed each other bites of chocolate hazelnut cake, decadently spiced with yellow chartreuse and masala or topped simply with gold leaf. More substantial nosh from the two-Michelin-star chef includes lobster, roasted guinea fowl, and house-smoked salmon with caviar and a mustard sorbet.
Sneak away and steal a kiss near the Medici Fountain in the Luxembourg Gardens, the “backyard” of the French Senate. In this relatively more wild and woolly area of the otherwise perfectly preened grounds, wait until you have the spot to yourselves, then let the passions of the statuary—the (doomed) lovers Galatea and Acis embracing before the Cyclops Polyphemus—be your guide. If you ever find yourself for a lack of words, head to Montmartre and borrow a phrase from artist Frédéric Baron. His mural “Le Mur de Je T’Aime” has 612 blue lava tiles scrawled in 250 languages all saying: “I love you.”
Parisians made the world’s first untethered hot air balloon flight in 1783 and have been soaring into the blue ever since. Book a sunrise tour with France Montgolfiéres (April-October) and spend an hour lazily floating over emerald forest and the toy-sized farms and villages of Fontainebleau, an easy hour'Ps train from the city.